Top Chef: Dale's nipples, Antonia's curse

First off, sorry Googlers! You'll find no hot scoops on the status of Jennifer and Zoi's relationship, or the rumors mentioned on the reunion special last night. I'm getting a ton of hits on it, and while this post won't alleviate that flood, at least it'll give people the scoop.

Anyway, I actually dug the reunion show. For one thing it showed us the direction Top Chef should really consider heading for future seasons. In my opinion, if the whole Black Hammer thing had made it to air, the show would have been infinitely more appealing. It would be fine by me if the producers spent less time hawking Tupperware or some shitty beer, and less time crafting a villain out of a bad attitude, and instead gave us reasons to feel engaged on a personal level with the contestants. Antonia's Frankenstein dance cracked me right the fuck up, and I wish we could have seen it when it happened.

Where was the Nimma interview?? C'mon! ... Naw, I wasn't surprised at all when she didn't raise her hand with the rest of the chefs who had watched the show during previous seasons.

The only people who really didn't do anything to rehab their image, other than Nimma, were Ryan and maybe Nikki. Ryan still comes off as an above-it-all poseur, and Nikki just didn't have much to say. Dale owned up to his failure, even when he could have been all vindicated by Tom's support, and won some goofball points for his back and forth with Richard in a cut scene about Dale lotioning his nipples.

In fact, I'd say that this special rehabbed the entire season to a certain extent. I found it well-edited, well-crafted, and the chefs all well-behaved and entertaining (infinitely better than last season's Project Runway reunion--ugh!). Compared to, say, The Next Food Network Star, Top Chef is a bright star in Bravo's lineup, and with the impending departure of Project Runway, I dare say it'll be the crown jewel.

Speaking of The Next Food Network Star, I tuned in for a chunk of an episode, and I'm not sure if I can handle watching it enough to recap it. Yes, Nipa, we can all tell that you are from India or somewhere thereabouts. "I was doing a little Bollywood dance inside" is just the kind of "LOOKATMEEE" comment that drives me nuts. And Lisa "Posh Chef" Garza? Man. If anything could make me a Rachel Ray fan, it's the prospect of having to see her on Food Network. And I'm afraid that Gordon Ramsay is too much for me. He's a caricature, moreso than even Anthony Bourdain's harshest critics could ever accuse him of.

If anything, I think I'll be tackling Project Runway. I might tune in for a pilot of sorts for Kitchen Nightmares, but eh. I'll be watching PR anyway, so it's the best fit. I hope you foodies aren't pushed away by this choice! There'll still be food-related posts here (it's my thing), and I do hope you come back to read my column (linked at the upper right of this page) every couple weeks.

Thanks again for all the hits, and the great comments, and the votes of confidence. For those of you who may not be back until next season, thanks for coming! Who knows, maybe I'll be at EW.com next year. For the rest of you, drop me a comment any time.

ADDED:
OH! I almost forgot how funny the t-shirt is. Want one bad. What was Season 2's shirt? It's not on Bravo's shop site. The first year's, even though I wasn't watching then, is obvious: "I'm not your bitch, bitch." Season 3's should have been "My monkey could do that," but was instead CJ's "Oh, big time."